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Archive for the ‘Demographics’ Category

“When it comes to early childhood education, the United States needs to step up. Many developed nations now have more than 90% enrollment in pre-K programs, surpassing the US with just 66% enrollment for 4-year-olds. Rising superpowers are making significant commitments to expand access to early education over the next few years, with China promising to have pre-K for every 4-year-old and most 3-year-olds by 2020.”

“The National Institute for Early Education Research began collecting data on state-funded preschool programs in 2002. Fifteen years later, the institute’s State of Preschool 2017 report released this week shows that even though many elected officials claim to support early education, actual enrollment of 4-year-olds has grown only slightly since the Great Recession of 2007-2009.”

“US is falling behind other nations in providing pre-K schooling,” CNN, by April 18, 2018

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“Leading the Way,” is a series featuring the next generation of leaders in the field of early education and care.

Kretcha Roldan

Kretcha Roldan has spent her career combining social work and education.

That’s what she loved about her job as executive director of AVANCE, a nonprofit organization in Waco, Texas, that runs a two-generation education and personal development program for children and parents.

“I’m a social worker by training and by profession, but I fell in love with that concept: understanding how early education empowers parents to become children’s first teacher,” Roldan says. “It really helps the family to grow.”

Praised by former first lady Laura Bush, AVANCE serves Waco’s low-income, immigrant population.

Children and parents come to school each day. “The parents go to ESL classes or GED classes, and the children come to early childhood education classes. The parents also take parenting skills training.”

“Sometimes parents who have no means think that they cannot teach their children because they do not have the resources. When, honestly, what you need to teach a two-year-old are very basic things to have activity in their brain cells.” So the program helped parents tap their own ingenuity and creativity to use common household items to teach their children about numbers and colors.

“And both parent and child graduate. They both walk in with gowns.” (more…)

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Photo: Caroline Silber for Strategies for Children

 

How can preschools be more accessible to immigrant children?

Four communities — Dearborn, Mich., Atlanta, Ga., King County, Wash., and Houston, Texas — have come up with good answers, according to a new Urban Institute report, “Expanding Preschool Access for Children of Immigrants.”

“Historical barriers to preschool access, including language accessibility, cultural responsiveness, and affordability, have led many immigrant families to miss out on this important experience,” a related article explains.

“But new evidence from four communities shows that policymakers and teachers remain central in expanding preschool access for children of immigrants—and they can be successful in doing so.”

The report points to common themes that emerged across the four locations, including the need to:

• address language barriers

• inform parents about their preschool options

• manage logistics such as scheduling and transportation, and

• expand access by forming partnerships with other organizations and providers such as religious organizations and health care providers

The Urban Institute article makes 10 recommendations, among them: (more…)

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

 

How can the United States do better for its toddlers?

Answers abound in a series of articles produced by the Hechinger Institute and Columbia Journalism School’s Teacher Project. A mix of these articles appear on Hechinger’s website and also on Slate’s.

“Could we improve America by treating 2-year-olds better?” the title of an article by Lillian Mongeau asks.

“Parents dread the terrible twos, but what makes the year so tough for many families isn’t just tantrums in supermarket aisles or toilet-training disasters. It’s the difficulty of finding safe, high-quality child care in a country that offers parents limited choices of questionable quality and little guidance on how to make those choices. This neglect could have far-reaching consequences—research shows that a toddler’s daily environment can have a lasting effect on her brain structure for a lifetime.” (more…)

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Screenshot: The Casey Foundation website

 

For some children, opportunity is part of life in America. But for millions of immigrant children and children of color, life in America is full of obstacles and threats.

That’s the finding of a new report — “2017 Race for Results: Building a Path to Opportunity for All Children.” Released by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the report “explores the intersection of children, opportunity, race and immigration.”

The report notes that many immigrant children live in low-income and poor families whose median income “is 20 percent less than U.S.-born families.” Specifically:

• more than half of children in immigrant families are low income

• one in four children (4.5 million) are poor, and

• children of immigrants account for 30 percent of all low-income children in the United States, even though they only make up 24 percent of the country’s 74 million children

For children of color, a daunting challenge is living with dizzying layers of disadvantages in “communities where unemployment and crime are higher; schools are poorer; access to capital, fresh produce, transit and health care is more limited; exposure to environmental toxins is greater; and family supports and services are fewer.”  (more…)

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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

In Massachusetts, too many family live in “child care deserts” — communities where the demand for child care is far greater than the supply of high-quality spots.

“Despite the more than 8,000 licensed child care providers across the state, Massachusetts, like so many other areas across the country, is facing a child care crisis,” the national nonprofit Child Care Aware noted last year in its inaugural report, “Child Care Deserts: Developing Solutions to Child Care Supply and Demand.”

“… we found that these deserts are especially prevalent in low-income communities, rural communities, among families of color, and among families with irregular or nontraditional work schedules.”

Now, Child Care Aware is providing an interactive look at child care deserts in Massachusetts through a new “story map.”

Story maps are a unique advocacy tool because they bring data to life. The maps are created by an app that let users combine maps, narrative text, images, and multimedia content. Story maps can be used to create everything from annual reports and virtual tours of college campuses to the history of a city’s public art to a crowd-sourced map of the damage caused by Hurricane Harvey.

To create a child care story map for Massachusetts, Child Care Aware looked at three issues: (more…)

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Screenshot: The Ounce’s website

 

Like most states, Massachusetts has limited data on its birth-to-5 early education and care system, making it difficult for us to answer basic questions such as “Where are all the 4-year-olds?”

Elliot Regenstein wants to change that. He’s the plain-spoken author of “An Unofficial Guide to the Why and How of State Early Childhood Data Systems,” which was just released by The Ounce, a national nonprofit that advocates for children.

“This is not one of those policy papers that earnestly describes how the world is supposed to be—this guide is a zealous exploration of how the world actually is,” Regenstein, the director of policy and advocacy at The Ounce, writes.

The unofficial guide is one of a series of “policy conversations” that The Ounce is sharing to “rethink education.” The policy conversations cover “innovative ideas about how we can bridge the early education and K–12 systems, improving the quality and outcomes of both.”

How can data help this effort?  (more…)

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